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OOL_0033 Ensuring Access To The Natural World

Annie Friday is joined by Ashley Jefferson to talk about some of the disparities in who is playing outside despite knowing nature is essential to our mental and physical health. Ashley shares some of the programs she has developed to encourage Black families to get outside and enjoy the benefits of fresh air and nature. Ashley offers some reminders on heading out: simply by being human, we are nature; feeling safe and having fun are critical elements, and there’s no requirement to be a nature expert in order to enjoy the benefits of it.

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Co-Founder at Blue Bridge ALC

Annie Friday is an educator, entrepreneur, podcast host, and birth doula. Most recently, Annie co-founded Blue Bridge Agile Learning Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Blue Bridge serves families engaged in self-directed education pursuits. Annie considers herself a recovering teacher engaged in the ongoing process of deschooling and relearning everything she has ever known about education. Annie is a public school parent who is actively working to decenter school in her family life. Annie believes all learning needs to be learner-led, consent-based, and rooted in play. Annie holds a master’s degree in early childhood education. Her teacher and family training focuses on supporting young children through play, nature, and mindfulness. Annie lives in Michigan with her husband and two young children. Together they enjoy playing outside hiking, camping, boating, and skiing as well as inside with board games, video games, dancing, doing yoga, and cooking.

Co-Founder at Blue Bridge ALC

Candis is the co-founder of Blue Bridge ALC, an Agile Learning Center located in Grand Rapids, MI. She is a former educator and school administrator and after working in the public school system for 12 years, Candis chose to create Blue Bridge as a vehicle of social justice activism. Candis has an M.Ed in Elementary Education, with a specialization in reading instruction. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (200 RYT) and a trainer for Yoga Ed., an organization working to bring trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness to children worldwide. Candis has trained over 400 educators in responsibly integrating yoga and mindfulness into their classrooms. When she’s not supporting self-directed education at Blue Bridge, you will find Candis hiking, reading, and traveling with her family. Her current self-directed pursuits include playing the piano, brushing up on her Spanish language skills, and learning to run a non-profit organization

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